Strategic Management of Sales Assisted by Machine Learning: A Case Study in a Large Food Business

Proceedings of ‏The 11th International Conference on Research in Engineering, Science & Technology

Year: 2021


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Strategic Management of Sales Assisted by Machine Learning: A Case Study in a Large Food Business

Marcus Vinícius Silva, Luiz Melk de Carvalho, Diva de Souza e Silva Rodrigues, Flávio Henrique Batista de Souza



This paper implemented Machine Learning techniques to predict sales success of a large Brazilian food company. The strategy considered the reuse of underutilized data to apply a pattern recognition process based in Multilayer Perceptrons (MLP) algorithms and thus to propose an intelligent management of business proposals. As a research methodology, a database with information collected over 4 years (23,093 records) in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system was evaluated and standardized. Then the sales success prediction experiments were performed, using MLPs of the following types: Standard Backpropagation, Backpropagation Momentum, Resilient Propagation, Backpropagation with Weight Decay and Quick Propagation. Resampling by test and validation sets was used, with the proportion variation of 65-35% and 75-25%. The number of neurons in the hidden layer were {3,5,7,10} and times of interaction were {50;100;1,000;5,000}. The Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC curve) and its Area Under the Curve (AUC) were employed to evaluat the performance, considering the normalization of the AUCs measured between 0 and 1. The experiments sought an annual and monthly prediction of sales success, according to the customer’s profile. The results were: a methodology for collecting and standardizing the company’s data; an analysis of the best MLP configuration, according to the customer’s profile; and a structure that has an AUC between 0.975 and 0.983, with a processing time between 4.2 and 4.8 seconds, capable of supporting the decision taking and avoid loss of contracts (which reach the order of more than $180,000.00 Brazilian reais), where it is possible to predict renegotiations and the prediction of success.

Keywords: Machine Learning; Pattern Recognition; Multilayer Perceptron; Strategic Sales Management; Food Sector.